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Beyond 'Revenge Porn': The Continuum of Image-Based Sexual Abuse

McGlynn, Clare; Rackley, Erika; Houghton, Ruth

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Erika Rackley

Ruth Houghton


In the last few years, many countries have introduced laws combating the phenomenon colloquially known as ‘revenge porn’. While new laws criminalising this practice represent a positive step forwards, the legislative response has been piecemeal and typically focuses only on the practices of vengeful ex-partners. Drawing on Liz Kelly’s (Surviving sexual violence. Polity Press, Cambridge, 1988) pioneering work, we suggest that ‘revenge porn’ should be understood as just one form of a range of gendered, sexualised forms of abuse which have common characteristics, forming what we are conceptualising as the ‘continuum of image-based sexual abuse’. Further, we argue that image-based sexual abuse is on a continuum with other forms of sexual violence. We suggest that this twin approach may enable a more comprehensive legislative and policy response that, in turn, will better reflect the harms to victim-survivors and lead to more appropriate and effective educative and preventative strategies.


McGlynn, C., Rackley, E., & Houghton, R. (2017). Beyond 'Revenge Porn': The Continuum of Image-Based Sexual Abuse. Feminist Legal Studies, 25(1), 25-46.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 8, 2017
Online Publication Date Mar 16, 2017
Publication Date Mar 16, 2017
Deposit Date Mar 17, 2017
Publicly Available Date Mar 21, 2017
Journal Feminist Legal Studies
Print ISSN 0966-3622
Electronic ISSN 1572-8455
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Issue 1
Pages 25-46


Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (570 Kb)

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and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original
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